Redistricting

The redrawing of district boundaries every 10 years is designed to ensure that Congress and state legislatures are representative. But all too often, redistricting is not used by elected officials to safeguard electoral fairness, but to manipulate boundaries and stack the deck in favor of a political party or incumbent candidates.

This is called gerrymandering and it is a big problem in America. Gerrymandering impacts communities across the country. Underrepresented minority communities are often hit the hardest when redistricting dilutes their political influence and makes it hard to gain a foothold in our democracy.

With technology now making it possible to draw maps with highly accurate precision, the result is a political system where most electoral battles are fought in primaries and elected officials more and more seem to cater to the partisan extremes that dominate those contests. It’s no wonder then that citizens are left feeling increasingly that their votes — and voices — do not matter. 

The Brennan Center supports reforming the redistricting process so that it is independent, transparent, and ensures that communities are fully and fairly represented in Congress and the nation’s legislative bodies.

Recent Research

Recent Commentary

  • Several districts in Texas’ 2011 congressional and legislative maps were found unconstitutional, a new gerrymandering lawsuit was filed in Georgia, and more.

    May 23, 2017
  • In just a few years, voting districts will be redrawn across the country. Advocacy and grassroots groups in a number of states are busy drafting ballot proposals and launching campaigns that support legislation aimed at curbing gerrymandering – the manipulation of voting districts to favor or disfavor one group of voters over another or to protect incumbents – by instituting redistricting reforms such as independent redistricting commissions to draw district boundaries. Since 2000, similar grassroots efforts led to the successful implementation of independent commissions in Arizona and California.

    May 19, 2017